50 Shades of CaboPress – A Tell All Tale

Man oh man! What a whirlwind of a few weeks it’s been. Two weeks ago, Justin and I had the utmost pleasure to attend CaboPress, a “Mastermind” event organized by Chris Lema.

To be honest, we had no idea what a Mastermind event was, and we really had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. Regardless, we hopped on a plane to San José del Cabo, Mexico, and it was one of the best decisions we’ve ever made.

So, what did we learn? What’s a Mastermind event? Was it all it was cracked up to be? I can’t wait to tell you, but firstin classic Lema stylewe should start with a story…

So, 10 WordPress geeks walk into a bar…

For the majority of the trip, we stayed at the resort. After all, it was a 5 star, all-inclusive resort with countless pools and restaurants, luxury amenities, room service, etc. There really wasn’t much reason to leave.

But, there were a couple of nights when we went into town, and one night in particular where a group of us took off into the evening to check out the Cabo nightlife!

Being a “Mastermind” event, we got the opportunity to meet some really smart people. Not only brilliant from an intellectual standpoint, but there were some world-class communicators, artists, hackers, entrepreneurs, and creatives at CaboPress. Everyone was sharp.

So imagine, we’re out on the town and the bar we chose happened to be doing a trivia night.

It was music trivia. Can you see where this is going..?

Every table at the bar was playing against each other for a free round of drinks. The MC would play a song, and if you knew what it was you would yell out and attempt to name the tune.

Again, I should stress, we had a group of really smart people (including an ex-dj) from all over the world. And go figure, there were some brilliant music trivia minds in the group, too..

To say it was an unfair advantage was a supreme understatement. The CaboPress crew didn’t just dominate music trivia, we ruined people’s nights. A half-second of a track would play, and our group would start cheering and jawing, and we would name the tune EVERY time! I don’t think we gave up a single point all evening.


What was CaboPress like?

It’s tough to relate CaboPress to anything I’ve ever done before, but I’ll try..

I am big live music junkie. I love going to shows and music festivals. Particularly, I am a huge fan of doing multi-day, camping festivals. In our digital, hustle-and-bustle world, it’s rare to get a chance to connect with someone for an extended chunk of time.

Spending 3-4 days camping with someone really gives you an opportunity to bond on a whole new level. There’s just nothing else like it.

I had the exact same feeling about CaboPress. We didn’t just get to meet the coaches and attendees, we got an opportunity to bond with them on a deeply-personal level. In some cases, we got to know their families too!

At #CaboPress, you didn't just get to meet the coaches and attendees, you got an opportunity to bond with them. Click To Tweet

How About the Sessions?

The “meat and potatoes” of CaboPress were the sessions.

Anyone who’s been to a conference or two is familiar with the idea of “sessions,” right? A bunch of people, crammed into a multi-purpose room, tapping away at their laptops and phones while some poor sap gets on stage and tries to wrangle everyone’s attention.

Not at CaboPress!

The CaboPress sessions were a bit different. For one, all of the “sessions” were held in a pool. Not just any pool, a gorgeous infinity pool—with drink service!

And these “sessions” were more like an open, themed discussion. We weren’t just listening to someone talk, we we’re discussing everyone’s unique experiences. The atmosphere was very candid and comfortable. I had no qualms discussing both our successes and our failures, and no one was afraid to share a few of their secrets. We learned just about as much from the other participants as we did from the industry vets.

As someone pointed out, there was an unexpected perk to having all of the sessions in a pool: no-one was looking at their phone or laptop! 100% of everyone’s attention was on each other. It was brilliant! It pains me to say it, but this is such a rarity in our world today—particularly in our industry.


Introducing the CaboPress Class of 2015

Beyond the sessions, one of the biggest takeaways from CaboPress was the network. You hear the term “class” thrown around a bunch with the Y Combinator companies. Have you heard of Y Combinator? They’re a startup incubator here in Silicon Valley.

Twice a year, they provide startup capital and advice to 20-80 fledgling companies. They’re also the group behind the popular Hacker News website, and one of their founders, Paul Graham, has a rather impressive collection of essays.

You may have heard of some of the Y Combinator alums like Airbnb, Dropbox, Stripe, Twitch, Heroku, and or Reddit?

One of the recurring themes you’ll hear from Y Combinator companies is the value of the Y Combinator network. Imagine having access to a network of people who started a company similar to yours. Maybe these companies are a few years ahead of you, or maybe they’re a few years behind. Regardless, everyone is dealing with the same questions and problems. How do we hire talented people? How do we scale with explosive growth? The list goes on and on.

This is exactly what we got from CaboPress: a network of companies, in our industry, that are all close in age and dealing with similar problems. A network of experience that we can tap into anytime.

If we have an issue with a problem customer, we can reach our breakfast friends, Steve and Steph from Formidable, and ask what they do in that situation. Or, if one of our customers is looking for a way to publish an online course, we can direct them to our buddies over at LifterLMS who we had the pleasure of spending a few late nights with. 😉

Plus, unlike Y Combinator, we got all of this without giving up a stake in our company!

Chris Lema, you’re doing it wrong! I think we all owe you some equity! 🙂

Hey, it's hard to smile with a cigar in your mouth!

Trying to look cool! Plus, it’s really hard to smile with a cigar in your mouth! 🙂

In Closing

Apart from the sunburn and the tummy-ache, there were a few other things we took away from CaboPress…

One of our big “Aha” moments was hearing about the struggles many companies have when they try to do too many things at once. Coming away from Cabo, our plan is to streamline our business and go all-in with our product. Over the next few months, we’re going to ramp down the client services side of our business and focus all of our energy and effort on Beaver Builder!

If you’re a Beaver Builder customer, know that we came away from this trip inspired and motivated! Not that we weren’t before, but Justin and I both have a whole new outlook on how we can grow Beaver Builder and continue to make it one of the best design tools on the web. We wouldn’t be here without you and we’re thrilled to have the opportunity to keep growing this thing. Thank you!

Photo Credit: Brian Richards

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  1. Jason on October 7, 2015 at 10:23 am

    Awesome! Post.

    • Robby McCullough on October 7, 2015 at 1:53 pm

      Hey! Thanks, Jason! 🙂

  2. Carlos on October 7, 2015 at 10:41 am

    Looks great! I am gald that you are motivated, thsoe are great news for us 😉

    • Robby McCullough on October 7, 2015 at 1:58 pm

      Haha! Well, we’ve always been motivated. Maybe motivated AND focused would’ve been more accurate.

  3. jonathanperez953042409 on October 7, 2015 at 12:04 pm

    Nice!!!! SOunds freakin’ awesome!! Can’t wait to see what you guys do with Beaver Builder!

    • Robby McCullough on October 7, 2015 at 12:24 pm

      Thanks Jonathan!

  4. David Waumsley on October 7, 2015 at 12:32 pm

    You completely lost me at Y Combinator, but what a great post. I actually felt your enthusiasm and excitement.

    Anything that keeps you guys upbeats about growing THE best web design tool on the web is OK in my book. Nice one 🙂

    • Robby McCullough on October 7, 2015 at 1:57 pm

      Thanks David! Glad the emotion made it through! 🙂

  5. Ryan Love on October 7, 2015 at 1:37 pm

    Great write up, thanks for sharing and looking forward to seeing what you guys do next with beaver builder!

    • Robby McCullough on October 7, 2015 at 1:55 pm

      Thanks Ryan!

  6. Chris Badgett on October 7, 2015 at 1:50 pm

    Awesome post Robby. I like the reference to Y Combinator. That makes a lot of sense in regards to the “class of” concept. It’s a cool concept that we see a lot like with groups like the Paypal mafia or with lesser know cohorts. Keep up the great work with BB! We’re looking forward to rolling some projects with the Beaver Builder.

    • Robby McCullough on October 7, 2015 at 1:54 pm

      Thanks Chris! Paypal mafia, ha! I kept thinking “WordPress Mafia” to myself, but I couldn’t remember where the term got coined. I think that was it..

  7. Colin on October 7, 2015 at 2:25 pm

    Awesome post Robby. I think it’s fabulous that you now have a network of fellow like minded businesses to bounce ideas off, because we as users, can only benefit from a Y Combinator like that.

    I particularly enjoyed the “10 WordPress Geeks Walk Into A Bar” story because I was in a similar kind of situation on Saturday with the WordCamp Toronto after party. Imagine the poor innocent people coming in for a regular Saturday night and being greeted with about 50 WordPress geeks talking about css, posts and plugins!

    Seeing you guys grow and network is awesome, if only because you have given the world the best WordPress plugin ever, so thoroughly deserve the success and recognition you’re getting! The Beaver Builder story is going to be a hell of a best selling book and movie one day. You guys had better start thinking about the actors you want to play your parts:-)

    Cheers mate,


    • Robby McCullough on October 8, 2015 at 10:26 am

      Thanks Colin! It was a fun one to write.

      Your WC Toronto story reminds me of the pirate ship cruise a day or two later. So, there was a sunset dinner cruise planned, and it ended up being on a full-fledged pirate ship. It was about 40 CaboPressers and maybe 10-20 other tourists. I think the other guys on the boat got a good earful of tech talk that they weren’t expecting, ha!

      Thanks for the kind words. You better start thinking about it too 🙂

  8. Chris Wallace on October 7, 2015 at 5:13 pm

    You guys are still doing client work??

    • Robby McCullough on October 8, 2015 at 10:42 am

      Believe it or not, yes! Do you?

      Our thinking before was that our client service business was like R&D for Beaver Builder. Also, it was also our insurance. We didn’t want all our eggs in one basket. Now, though, I’m convinced that we’re shooting ourselves in the foot by NOT focusing all of our attention on product.

  9. David Bullock on October 7, 2015 at 5:29 pm

    The LifterLMS guys are super 🙂

  10. Jennifer Bourn on October 7, 2015 at 6:22 pm

    Love this post! CaboPress was indeed a fantastic event and experience on all fronts. So many smart people in one distraction free (almost) place with lots of time to have personal conversations. Brian and I were thrilled to meet you guys and look forward to staying in touch 🙂

    • Robby McCullough on October 8, 2015 at 10:50 am

      Thanks so much, Jennifer! Likewise, I am really glad we got a chance to meet you and Brian and the fam. Buisness chat aside, you absolutely killed it with the side dish orders at dinner and the dance moves on the pirate ship (yeah, I noticed). 😀 Until next time…

  11. Pablo on October 14, 2015 at 5:51 pm

    I’m actually happy to learn that WP professionals are beginning to hold events in Latin America. I’m evangelizing Beaver Builder to my network contacts in Costa Rica and have already converted a developer in an almost foreign country, Alaska. I’m based in the US, but I leverage professionals in Latin America quite a bit. BB has helped my firm tremendously in that it helps me work in a more streamlined manner with resources thousands of miles away. Leave it to Beaver!

    • Robby McCullough on October 14, 2015 at 6:00 pm

      Pablo, thanks so much for the comment and for sharing! That’s awesome to hear what you’re doing with Beaver Builder.

      All the credit for CaboPress goes to Chris! He really nailed it with the location, too.

    • Lyle on October 17, 2015 at 8:00 pm

      “Leave it to Beaver!”

      Perhaps Beaver Builder could solicit the services of Jerry Mathers, aka ‘The Beaver’ as their spokesperson! 🙂

      Sounds like a fantastic ‘conference’! Keep up the awesome work on BB 🙂


      • Robby McCullough on October 18, 2015 at 9:55 am

        Haha! We’ll keep that in mind 😉

        Thanks so much for the comment, Lyle!

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